NC Renewable Energy Challenge

2024 North Carolina Renewable Energy Challenge

March 23, 2024

With funding from the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program and in partnership with KidWind and Jennette’s Pier, the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) hosts the day-long North Carolina Renewable Energy Challenge annually on the ECU Outer Banks Campus in Wanchese. Competing students must engineer an alternative energy device and compete against each other to create the most efficient design. The challenge strives to increase student interest in green technology and promote innovation, and it fosters 21st-century skills that better prepare students for the growing renewable energy industry.

This year’s event will include wind and underwater turbine competitions with upper elementary (grades 4 & 5), middle, and high school divisions for each. The goal of the competition is to increase engineering solutions for the alternative energies available in North Carolina.  There is funding available for basic competition materials and for travel to CSI. If teams wish to have funding for either, please contact Parker Murphy and John McCord. Finally, an outdoor lunch will be provided for all participants.

The winning teams will receive cash prizes, and the top teams* in each wind division will be invited to the World KidWind competition hosted in Minneapolis, MN, on May 5-8, 2024.

*New in 2024, wind divisions with less than 5 teams participating, will receive one Worlds invitation for the top-performing team. Divisions with more than 5 teams participating, will receive 2 invitations to Worlds.

(Updated Ocean Currents rulebook coming soon.)

Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.


Based at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) advances inter-disciplinary marine energy solutions across UNC System partner colleges of engineering at NC State University, UNC Charlotte, and NC A&T University.  Click on the links below for more information.




ECU's Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU's Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


Tour the ECU Outer Banks Campus and learn about the research, education, and engagement projects of CSI and ECU Integrated Coastal Programs through our 360 virtual tour.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.